Santa Croce, Florence
- (beg. 1294; consecrated 1442)Santa Croce is the Franciscan Church of Florence, its design commonly attributed to Arnolfo di Cambio. During the planning stages, the Franciscans were divided on whether to build a modest design that accorded with their vow of poverty or to emulate the Dominicans with whom they competed and who at the time were involved in erecting the impressive Church of Santa Maria Novella (1279-early 1300s), also in Florence. In the end, they opted for an opulent structure, made possible through donations from local merchant families. Like Santa Maria Novella, Santa Croce has a Latin cross plan with nave bays that are twice as wide as they are long. The apse is polygonal with a greater number of chapels flanking it than those in the rectangular apse at Santa Maria Novella. As in the Dominican church, Santa Croce has an elevation consisting of a nave arcade and clerestory, though the windows here are larger for more effective illumination. Instead of the fourpartite vault system of Santa Maria Novella, Santa Croce is timber-roofed. Also different is the use of a triumphal arch pierced by two pointed windows to separate the apse from the rest of the church and a catwalk that sets apart the nave arcade from the clerestory.
Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. Lilian H. Zirpolo. 2008.
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